St. Louis County Jail | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Jail

Handgun illustration, guns
FIle photo | LA Johnson | NPR

A sharply divided St. Louis County Council on Tuesday made it illegal for people with domestic violence convictions or active orders of protection to carry a concealed weapon in the county.

The four Democrats on the council, all women, voted for the measure, while the three Republicans, all men, voted no. County Executive Sam Page is expected to sign it into law.

Sam Page, Beth Huebner, Julia Fogelberg
August Jennewein | University of Missouri-St. Louis

St. Louis County’s jail population has dropped significantly over the past couple of years, from an over-capacity total of 1,242 in the summer of 2018 to 930 inmates as of last week. The sustained decrease has been touted as one positive outcome among the justice reform efforts that followed protests in Ferguson.

Much work remains — and thanks to five years of research led by University of Missouri-St. Louis professor of criminology and criminal justice Beth Huebner and funded by the John and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, collaboration continues between the researchers and the county, its circuit court and service providers.

During this year’s Pierre Laclede Society Community Confluence donor event at UMSL on Feb. 20, St. Louis on the Air host Sarah Fenske talked about ongoing efforts in the county and addressed lingering challenges.

St. Louis County jail
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The St. Louis County Council is taking more time to review a contract to provide tablets to inmates after a complaint from the jail’s current vendor about the bidding process.

But Council Chairwoman Lisa Clancy, D-Maplewood, said she has yet to find any wrongdoing.

“I’m still doing my due diligence to make sure this is a sound recommendation, but so far, I have a lot of confidence in this process,” Clancy said. “This is a [bidding process] that prioritizes lowering and eliminating fees on people in the justice center, and that’s a good direction to go in.” 

St. Louis County jail
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Updated at 6 p.m. Feb. 4 with more information about the program

St. Louis County is expecting to provide tablets to approximately 900 inmates in its jail, but it won’t need to purchase them.

St. Louis County jail
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A St. Louis County jail inmate suffered a stroke before he died at a hospital in December, according to an autopsy  report.

Jo’von Mitchell, 31, died of a brain hemorrhage related to a stroke, the autopsy report released Tuesday said. His death wasn’t caused by trauma or drug use, though “Mitchell’s age and the location of the stroke are uncommon,” according to a press release from the county. 

The county released information about Mitchell’s death after coming under pressure from a citizens advisory board and county council members to be more transparent. 

Attorney General Josh Hawley
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the newest edition of Politically Speaking, Jason Rosenbaum, Julie O’Donoghue and Rachel Lippmann talk about the latest in local, state and national politics.

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Updated at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 28

The St. Louis County Justice Services Board canceled its Thursday meeting with jail director Raul Banasco about the circumstances surrounding an inmate's death in late December.  

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County jail will now provide inmates with better menstrual pads and tampons free of charge.

County Executive Sam Page last week signed an executive order making the change after a survey from the nonprofit Missouri Appleseed found inmates couldn’t afford the products they needed.

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The Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton is sending twice as many inmates to the hospital for medical emergencies as it did in previous years, according to health officials. 

That’s likely because more inmates are coming into jail with drug addictions, said Dr. Emily Doucette, acting co-director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. Four in 10 inmates have withdrawal symptoms at their initial booking, said Doucette, whose department provides health care at the jail. 

Additionally, they increasingly have multiple substances, such as alcohol, tranquilizers and opioids, in their system, she said.

St. Louis County jail
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St. Louis County’s top public health officials want more medical workers at the county jail. 

The facility needs about 20 more full-time nurses to reach its ideal staffing level of 60, they say. 

Currently, the jail is relying on nurses hired on short-term contracts to fill the gaps in staffing, said Dr. Emily Doucette, co-director of the county’s public health department.